LINGUIST List 31.2462

Tue Aug 04 2020

Jobs: General Linguistics; Language Acquisition; Psycholinguistics; Sociolinguistics; Syntax: Post Doc, University of Tromsø

Editor for this issue: Becca Morris <>

Date: 03-Aug-2020
From: Björn Lundquist <>
Subject: General Linguistics; Language Acquisition; Psycholinguistics; Sociolinguistics; Syntax: Post Doc, University of Tromsø, Norway
E-mail this message to a friend

University or Organization: University of Tromsø
Department: Department of Language and Culture
Job Location: Tromsø, Norway
Web Address:
Job Title: Post Doc in Linguistics

Job Rank: Post Doc

Specialty Areas: General Linguistics; Language Acquisition; Psycholinguistics; Sociolinguistics; Syntax; Scandinavian languages


1-2 Post-doctoral Research Fellowship(s) in Linguistics within Formal and Experimental syntax, language acquisition and phonetics are available in the Department of Language and Culture at the University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway (UiT). The appointment is a fixed term position for a period of three years. The positions are part of the project Experimental approaches to Syntactic Optionality (ExSynOp), funded by the Research Council of Norway.

The position should be applied for at the application link provided below.

For appointment as Post-doctoral Research Fellow, the applicant requires a Norwegian doctoral degree in Linguistics, psychology or neighboring disciplines or a corresponding foreign doctoral degree recognised as equivalent to a Norwegian doctoral degree.

Previous experience within any of the fields mentioned above is required. Previous experience from data collection with adults or children is not required, but desired.

A PhD is required before commencement in the position. If you are at the final stages of your PhD, you may still apply for the position. You should have defended your thesis before the preferred start-up date of the position.

Language skills: Fluent English is required, and knowledge of a Scandinavian language is an advantage.

The ExSynOp project focuses on the development of categorical systems within natural languages. The natural languages of the world are characterized by largely rigid, often highly idiosyncratic rule systems. Within any given language, it is hard to find instances of true optionality (i.e., a many-to-one mapping from meaning to form). The ExSynOp project sets out to explore this central puzzle: what drives the evolution of complex, rigid rule systems in natural languages? The project seeks to do this by investigating the sources of regularization, i.e., the reduction of variation in a language. Our focus on regularization will bring new insights to one of the most debated issues in linguistics: are languages shaped predominantly by the usage patterns of adults (evident in processing, register/style choices, MacDonald 2013, Bybee 2015), or the learning preferences/limitations in children (Clark 1987, Newport 2005, Yang 2017, Chomsky 1986)?

The ExSynOp project takes as its starting point the word order variation found in the closely related Mainland Scandinavian languages and varieties. By studying the acquisition (L1 child and L2 adult), and processing, both in production and comprehension, in closely related languages that differ in the presence/absence of variation for a certain phenomenon, we can pin down where preferences for regular systems arise. Four questions addressing fundamental issues in the establishment of rigid grammars will be asked: (I) are there processing benefits (or costs) associated with categorical rules; (II) is the L1 language learner disposed to categorical rules, or do categorical tendencies develop later (III) is the variation within speakers conditioned by register/dialect, and (IV) how should this kind of non-meaning related variation in word order be modeled theoretically.

More information about the goals of the project and the project members can be found here:

Application Deadline: 24-Aug-2020

Web Address for Applications:
Contact Information:
Björn Lundquist

Page Updated: 04-Aug-2020